Today, when mentioned in Church meetings, the practice of polygamy is often portrayed as antiquated, odd, and undesirable. Modern saints are largely, if not uniformly, grateful that they are no longer called upon to live that way. Because apostles of the LDS Church have repeatedly and publicly announced that polygamy was never an essential doctrine of the restored gospel, this shared heritage has dissipated into a dismal understanding of who fundamentalist Mormons are. Indeed, President Hinckley has gone so far as to proclaim that “[t]here is no such thing as a ‘Mormon fundamentalist.’ It is a contradiction to use the two words together.” While every fundamentalist Mormon is familiar with an 1886 revelation declaring “I have not revoked this law nor will I” and while
most every fundamentalist Mormon considers this revelation as the basis for rejecting Wilford Woodruff’s 1890 manifesto, the vast majority of saints continue to be befuddled by the mulish stance taken by fundamentalist Mormons in rejecting that 1890 “revelation.”
Sometime after his membership trial in 1911, Apostle Matthias F. Cowley claimed that he and Apostle John W. Taylor "were no more guilty than those who supposedly took action against us." His claim is worthy of careful scrutiny - and the answer is surprising.
While a few members of the Twelve who disciplined Apostles Taylor and Cowley were completely uninvolved in new plural marriages after the 1890 manifesto, one married a plural wife in the fall of 1904, another was recently engaged to a potential plural wife (in 1910), at least two others courted potential plural wives after 1890 (one proposed), another approved scores of new plural marriages, and another assisted Apostle Taylor in marrying about ninety couples, a "good many" of which were new plural marriages (in 1897). However, two of those fellow "guilty" apostles did not attend the trials of Apostles Taylor and Cowley and a third attended in relative silence. Amidst this confusion, Apostle Cowley's trial ultimately led to a two day stalemate that required an unusual compromise.
Outside pressures complicated the trials as well. The Salt Lake Tribune blasted Apostles Taylor and Cowley for being "notorious" for performing plural marriages for men "who expressed a desire ... to defy the law" and called for a constitutional amendment forever banning polygamy in the U.S.
With facsimiles of original trial correspondence (including betrayal letters), original but heavily annotated trial minutes, original scans of newspaper clippings, charts, biographical vignettes of the apostolic jurors, and a thoroughly engaging introduction, Apostles on Trial opens the door to understanding these trials like no publication before it.More info →
For the first time, every known statement concerning Adam-God teachings has been compiled, documented, organized, and presented to the reader in a way that will withstand serious academic scrutiny. For the first time, Adam-God teachings have been presented in a sensitive reading environment that allows the reader to study the original Adam-God statements without the pressure of reading the author's personal interpretations...More info →